Biotechnology involves the study of the use of living things to produce products or methods for human use. Biotech has been around for thousands of years with the use of yeast for cheeses, bread, and brewing booze. Modern biotechnology often uses genetic engineering to manipulate the genes within organisms to produce many different pharmaceuticals. Research in biotechnology has been used to produce everything from insulin to a fish that glows in the dark. A local genetically engineered vegetable is the Flavr Savr Tomato.
Classes/Major and Programs
There is a Biotechnology Major at UC Davis. There are also related grad school disciplines such as the Biotechnology emphasis for the Microbiology graduate group, and Biochemistry, a specialization of the Chemistry doctoral program.
There is also a Biotechnology Program, created by Dean Hess in 1988. In 1993, they decided that oversight would be a joint effort by: OVCR; CA&ES; College of Engineering; College of Letters & Sciences; Division of Biological Sciences; School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine. The program is a unit of the Office of Research.
In 2001, the "University of California Systemwide Biotechnology Research and Teaching Program" moved to Davis from UC Berkeley, making Davis the home for lots of biotechnology research. This helped get the $95 million needed to make the Genome Center.
Local Corporate Facilities
Quite a bit of Research & Development goes on in Davis. Given the local agricultural emphasis, some of it is directed toward biotechnology in the ag sector. For instance, Arcadia Biosciences develops agricultural products, while Novozymes, Inc. is a local company that is the the R&D arm of Danish company Novozymes.
Calgene LLC was founded in a local garage in 1980, and remained based out of Davis until they were bought by Monsanto in 1996. They developed the genetically modified Flavr Savr and ran subsidiaries across the country.
Zoogen specializes in sex identification of birds but also offers a range of genetic testing services for several species of mammals.
Seminis Vegetable Seed Company — the largest developer, grower and marketer of fruit and vegetable seeds in the world — has their second largest lab located in nearby Woodland. Seminis was bought by Monsanto in 2005, making Monsanto the largest GM and conventional seed company in the world.
Biotech Industry Funding at UC Davis
Third in a series of "Seeds of Doubt" 2004 Sacramento Bee articles on Biotechnology looks atUC Davis research fundiing.
Family farmers are complaining against Monsanto's gmo's.